Benjamin Britten was notoriously particular about the professional musicians he worked with and he had famously high musical standards. Yet all his life he embraced working with amateurs and children. John Bridcut tracks down amateur singers to share their experiences of singing for Britten – and to discover why it was so special.
John himself sang for Britten as a student in 1971. Now he returns to Britten’s Snape Maltings, to swap memories with two fellow singers from that summer more than forty years ago. He also talks to members of Britten’s ‘house choir’, the Aldeburgh Festival Singers; Suffolk children who sang for Britten in the 1940s and 1950s; and two retired doctors who’ve not seen each other since they sang on Britten’s celebrated recording of his War Requiem as schoolboys.
23rd November at 12.15pm, BBC Radio 3.
Produced by Jane Greenwood and Elizabeth Burke
Presented by John Bridcut
Executive Producer Jo Coombs
‘Singing for Britten’ on the BBC